A former boxing champion, Jeremiah Okorodudu has World Champion, Anthony Joshua who defeated Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday was rejected by Nigerian boxing officials in 2007.
Okorodudu told UK Sun that Joshua wanted to fight for Nigeria at the Beijing 2008 Olympics.
“Joshua was in Nigeria once to connect with his roots and I think that was in 2007,” Okorodudu said.
“He wanted a chance to compete for trials ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics qualifiers, but he was denied and not given a chance.
“Disappointed, he went back to England to represent Great Britain.
“He went on to win a gold that could have been a first for Nigeria at the Olympics.
“If only they had allowed him to compete for Nigeria, that gold would have been a Nigerian gold and not Great Britain’s.”
Adegboyega Adeniji-Adele, a boxing coach also confirmed the fact that Joshua was at the Nigerian camp.
“Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua is his name and his family come from Ogun state in Nigeria,” he said.
“When he visited, his intention was to represent Nigeria at the Olympics but he was denied in the trials.
“He had no other option than to go to Britain.
“It’s Nigeria’s loss, Britain’s gain.
“Personally, I feel sad that they let him go and those people should be made to explain why it was impossible to give him a chance.”
But Obisia Nwakpa, who was the chief coach of the boxing team in 2008 said Joshua was not good enough at the time.
“We made the right call then, because he wasn’t good enough and we picked someone who was much better,” he was quoted as saying.
Nwankpa later told ESPN that Joshua refused to appear when he was told to come for trials.
“He reached out to us, asking to be part of our Olympic team, so we invited him to come down and take part in trials,” ESPN quoted Nawankpa to have said.
“Unfortunately, he did not appear when we asked him to and came down only when we had finished our trials, finalised our team and were about to travel for a training tour. Maybe other coaches would have accepted it, but I could not.
“It’s a pity he did not get his chance at that time, but the two boxers we selected then, Durodola Olanrewaju and Onorede Ohwarieme, were outstanding and experienced and there was no way I was going to drop them for somebody I had not even seen.”
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